COVID Got Ya Down?

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Making The Best of the Down Time
by Guy T Phillips
Texas School Instructor

Have you taken advantage of COVID, or has COVID taken advantage of you?  COVID-19 has overwhelmed the photographic industry.  In fact, I had my own personal experience with it.  Unfortunately, its impact may continue for months to come.

I had an extended conversation with one of our members not long ago about the downtime that many photographers and studios are experiencing.  We noticed there are a handful of studios who have maintained and even increased their client work while expanding their studio space. Achieving this involves a significant amount of planning and, sometimes, thinking outside the box. Those who have been successful have taken advantage of this down time to meet the challenges of the moment and to plan ahead for the future. So, what can you do to take advantage of this time?  Consider some of these options …

Have you taken another look what is offered by the Professional Photographers of America?  Along with a fresh new look for the PPA website in 2020 are both current and new programs and incentives.  The Business Resources page can help you re-define ‘Square One’ using your business goals through a quick and easy 3-step evaluation of your targeted markets, and the Benchmark Guide and Financial Benchmarks tools can help you solidify the numbers.

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Maybe it is a good time to assess your insurance coverage as well.  PAA is known for its coverage that comes with membership but take another look at the optional coverage for your equipment, your drone, plus both liability and data loss.  While on the website, look at the sample forms and agreements to ensure your client-facing documents are where they should be, including moving those agreements to online.  Removing pen and paper can provide more safety for you and for your clients while sending them in advance can better prepare your client and improve your workflow.

 

Adding masks, sanitizers, and temperature readings to your expectations can signal the client that their safety is important to you and promoting your extra measures is something you can cite on social media to distinguish you from your competition. Sales and Marketing Tools can also be downloaded and modified to reflect the vision of you and your studio, with templates for brochures, flyers, price lists, and e-books.

As a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) and CPP Liaison, I’ve seen the 2020 numbers for both the exam and for image submission… and they are down just a bit.  Consider taking advantage of the online capability for both the exam and image submission to make the process easier, safer, and less stressful for you.  There are a lot of great videos and document resources available for each step of the way!

The Texas Professional Photographers Association is known for the incomparable Texas School. But did you take a look at the Texas PPA Calendar of Events?  Revamped recently, it is a robust mix of online and in-person sessions and has a wide range of topics including Nature Photography, Bird Photography, Leadership Training, Roadtrips and much more.

There are events throughout the State of Texas and beyond, designed to provide you with education, fellowship, and plain old fun!  And, of course, I’ll be the host for a new series in “What’s New in Lightroom?” where members will have a chance to submit their questions on Lightroom (both mobile and desktop) and Lightroom Classic, plus a one-hour online review every other month!

But there’s more!  TPPA365 is an online source for TPPA members that includes video links covering a wide variety of topics and techniques, an “Image Makers” series featuring photographers from our membership and beyond, “Secrets to Success” series featuring programs that will help you grow and improve your business skills, a “Learning Library” with helpful articles and self-study projects, an Image Competition Guide with downloadable mats and judge’s critiques of images, Photoshop Tips, free Studio Forms, and more. Of course, this is a “member only” benefit and another great reason to join Texas PPA.

Another thing that is unique to Texas PPA and not available with most other state or regional affiliates is our award-winning magazine, The Photographer. This bi-monthly magazine is printed and mailed to state affiliate members of Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. The digital version can be viewed at www.ThePhotographerOnline.com and you can access archived issues on that website as well. The vendors who help support our magazine offer a wide variety of products and services to professional photographers.

Whether you take advantage of opportunities from PPA or TPPA, choose to upgrade your site, revamp your workflow, smooth out the bumps in your CRM, or up your skillsets with software, hardware or selling, don’t let COVID take advantage of you!